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  • Writer's pictureOptimize Fitness

What’s the important bit of kit a runner should have? After shoes...

Updated: Mar 5, 2021

Go faster socks?

The lightest waterproof?

The best Garmin with all the knobs on?


No – something far cheaper, more accessible and all about you….

The answer is a training diary.


Because it makes you accountable.

And it doesn’t lie - if you don’t!

And it records what you did, not what you should have.

Most importantly, it records how you felt – during and the day after a training session.

Why’s that important?

The answer is Internal Workload v External Workload and Recovery.

Internal and External Workload

This is how hard it was for you, how heard the session felt and what it took out of you? This is more important than External Workload, which is miles/km run or biked, altitude climbed and descended, or weights lifted. The reason is that everyone is different, a 45 min 10Km will feel vastly different to Kipchoge than it would to you or me.


Kipchoge would probably be good to go again within 5 mins after a 45 min 10Km but us mortals would take longer. And if we train before we are recovered then we won’t train as well, will feel fatigued and stand a higher chance of getting ill or injured. Other symptoms could be being grumpy, poor sleep, feeling stiff or achy in the next session. Ever felt like that?

It's all to do with balancing training against recovery:

It’s the Goldilocks problem – too little, too much, just about right. And it can be viewed from both sides, is training load and intensity right or is recovery sufficient? Or is it a balance?

And if you train again before you are recovered, then you’ll just dig yourself deeper into the fatigue pit.

That’s why ‘one size fit’s all’ training plans from a book, website or magazine don’t work. They’re made up to fit theory and groups.

And do they work out the best recovery methods for you?

You need a training and recovery plan that suits you.

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